Making A Wooden Chain With Box Joints General Woodworking
This is a project that just occurred to me while watching a video on strength testing a wooden chain. That’s the power of video, it gets the wheels turning.
I thought that one way to make a wooden chain stronger is to eliminate the weakest point at the ends of each link where there is just end grain. I figured the best way to do this was by making each link from separate parts and joining those together with box joints. Certainly a tedious thing to do, but not really anymore so than carving a chain like this from a solid piece (as many often do).
To get started, I cut a piece of well season spruce into two strips that are 3/8″ thick. I cut those to about 2-1/2″ long and loaded them into my ultimate box joint jig and set it to cut 1/16″ box joints using a thin kerf 7-1/4″ blade:
To cut these small parts, I’ve attached the secondary fence with a built in clamping bar.
After one end was cut, I flipped each piece and cut joints in the other ends. To make the end segments of the links, I cut 1/3 of these pieces in half using my mini table saw sled:
Each piece still needs to be cut into three parts before gluing each link together:
I did full links and 3/4 links, leaving half of them open to assemble the chain:
I wasn’t overly careful about alignment when cutting the box joints, figuring I can sand them even after they were put together.
Assembly time and after the glue dried, I wiped on some linseed oil for some protection and to make the box joints show a bit better:
All finished, it looks pretty neat and should be strong enough to hold up some serious weight (within reason!):
Here’s the video of the chain being made: